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The Final Cockdown: #27 Victor Hampton

Once a troubled underclassman who couldn't stay out of his own way, Victor Hampton looks to complement his remarkable personal turnaround with an All-SEC junior campaign.

Vic Hampton: man of the people.
Vic Hampton: man of the people.

Victor Hampton
Redshirt Junior Cornerback
5'10", 202 lbs.
Darlington, SC

4 stars, #14 cornerback in the 2010 class
Other offers: Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee. Like the previous Cockdown feature, he was initially committed to Florida. However, the Gators sent Hampton mixed messages which led to his decommitment. After considering Tennessee, he committed to Carolina. (Man, imagine of DJ Swearinger—once a Vol commit—and Vic Hampton both wound up at Tennessee. And for the 138359th time, we point to the importance of protecting SC recruits.)

College Career:
Early on, it seemed liked Victor Hampton's legacy would have little to do with on-field heroics and instead take the form of a cautionary tale. He was booted from one high school, arrested at another, and struggled with grades while at South Carolina before being dismissed for a conduct issue that was never made public. He was eventually reinstated and has since remained on the straight and narrow. In fact, he's gained notoriety for his involvement in the community, regularly making appearances in classrooms and at events. Meanwhile, he's been a steady presence since stepping on the field, appearing in 22 games since 2011.

Vic's metamorphosis is an inspiring reminder of what the right program can do for an individual who needs a bit of guidance. It's easy for naysayers to label a coaching staff as soft or lax when a player isn't run out on a rail after an incident, but Vic Hampton has surely validated his coaches' patience and efforts.

2012 Stats:
12 games played, 34 tackles, 6 PBU, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 PR, 1 KR

2013 Outlook:
The prevailing school of thought amongst Gamecock punditry is that Victor Hampton will be the face of the Carolina secondary in 2013, likely due to his experience, natural talent, sharp tongue, and knowledge of the system. He'll play boundary cornerback—a role typically reserved for the most athletic players on the field, which is a bill Hampton fits. Statistically, he'll certainly have his chances to rack up some numbers when his defense is tasked with containing the passing attacks of teams like North Carolina, Clemson and Georgia—squads each sporting name-brand quarterbacks eager to sling the rock. Additionally, Hampton is a prime contender to fill Ace Sanders' metaphorically large but probably kinda small shoes at punt returner. Paired with his decent size and primo athleticism, even moderately tasty numbers will likely lead to his declaring for the 2014 draft. Heck, after his statistically okay 2012 he was projected as a 3rd rounder, so barring some unforeseen circumstance you should probably count on this being Vic's last go-around in Columbia. And based the dearth of 2014 scholarship room, it's probably best for all parties to let Hampton go get that paper while we toss his scholly at some deserving recruit.

Is nicknamed Bandit, which he earned due to his deranged fanaticism for the 1977 Burt Reynolds/Sally Field comedy Smokey and the Bandit. [presses ear piece] I'm now being told it's because of his defensive guile.

Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"Florida lines up to punt, and Vic Hampton is back. It's a high-arcing, end-over-end kick. Vic hauls it in at the fifteen, and we will have a return. He cuts once, gets a block, sheds a tackler, spins off another, stops on a dime, darts ahead and breaks free! Just the punter to beat, and it won't be close! Folks, 'do you feel like I do?' Well why not 'show me the way' because 'baby I love your way' when HAMPTON COMES ALIIIIII—ah, dammit, it's already a Phish album. [awkward silence] Let's pause for station identification."